This study aimed to provide an empirical typology of a diffused school change movement in South Korea, known as the Hyukshin School movement. This movement has been diffused by a combination of bottom-up practices and top-down measures, employing a communitarian whole-school change strategy that promotes collaborative learning, students’ voices, and democratic decision-making. In this study, the extent of teacher agency and degree of transformation are used as key criteria in distinguishing various types of change practice. To provide this empirical typology, we focused on all 55 Hyukshin Schools (40 middle schools and 15 high schools) at the secondary level as of 2019 in Seoul. Researchers performed extensive data collection by conducting interviews, collecting artifacts, observing teaching practices in selected classrooms, and visiting teacher-reflection sessions. Following this analysis, we created an empirical typology that characterized variations in the implementation of Hyukshin Schools by categorizing the 55 schools in terms of substantial (n = 31), functional (n = 6), nominal (n = 13), and segmented (n = 5) change. In this study, we hoped to provide insights for those considering diffusion strategies to cultivate innovative schools by identifying the key relevant aspects of the different types of change practices.
Wales’ education system is part-way through an extensive journey of reform. This contextual paper explores the evolution of that journey, from the establishment of the Welsh Parliament in 1999 to late 2020, as Wales readies itself for the launch of a radical, new national curriculum. Drawing from a range of international literature and experience, it provides an overview of key policy developments and insight into the rationale for decisions taken by the Welsh Government to effect change. To do this, it separates reform into three core phases, each with its own characteristics borne out of landmark events that helped shape contemporary political and public discourse. In particular, the paper examines the impact of Wales’ shifting approach to policy development on the teaching workforce and considers implications for those at the site of practice. Ahead of forthcoming parliamentary elections, the paper resolves that a new, long-term approach to policy reform and teacher development is needed if Wales is to realise its ambitious vision for education.
This article deepens the knowledge of middle leaders’ impact on school improvement and organisation development. More precisely, it focuses on how middle leaders from comprehensive schools and preschools translated improvement strategies and tools from a municipal course on leading school improvement into their own organisations. It is based on interviews with middle leaders, teachers, and principals at two schools and two preschools. Translation theory is used as a theoretical frame. The findings show that the middle leaders translated improvement strategies based on local needs, and for several reasons: for clarification and reduction of roles and improvement areas; structuring improvement work; engaging and involving colleagues in school improvement; and developing a professional culture. When taking the role of translators, the middle leaders became central to progressing the developmental elements of local school organisations. The study recommends investing to provide middle leaders with improvement strategies and an understanding of translation theory to enable translations that aid the development of school organisations.
International policy trends point to an increased focus on student achievement, teaching quality, and school outcomes. Attention to Swedish students’ poor academic achievement over the past two decades has resulted in an increased emphasis on the responsibility of municipalities and schools to create a better educational atmosphere through building quality control systems at the local level. The purpose of this study is to contribute in-depth knowledge of not only how local education authorities (LEAs) support and control schools through quality management systems but also how these local governance strategies are conditioned and obtain legitimacy in relation to the national governance of schools. Based on interviews with LEA actors in one large municipality in Sweden, as well as observations of meetings within the quality management system, this paper uses an organizational theory to explore what appears to be important in a LEA quality management system and the tensions between the state, the municipality, and the school. The results show that the LEAs’ quality management system is based on three specific strategies: (a) data use, (b) leadership, and (c) different forms of dialogues, which, in turn, contribute to relatively close system connections. The exception is the LEAs’ ability to sustainably contribute to equity in outcomes and quality, where different tensions become clear. There is some support for the LEAs’ potential to contribute to stability and coherence in relation to national governance and to the local schools.
Teachers worldwide are challenged to adjust their teaching to meet students’ needs for deeper learning. The lack of mutual understanding among researchers, policymakers and teachers tends to blur the discussion on how to enhance deeper learning through teaching, which further challenges teachers in making changes in their classroom practices. This qualitative observation study aims to explore how five skilled and experienced Norwegian teachers facilitate 10–16-year-old students’ potential deeper learning in whole-class teaching. The teachers are videotaped four times during a school year, and observations show how teachers enhance or undermine students’ active involvement, facilitate or hinder positive learning environments, support or impede deeper understanding, and stimulate or inhibit metacognitive reflection. The observations are discussed within a framework of the literature and research on how deeper learning is understood and promoted. The findings indicate how teachers’ facilitation of a supportive learning environment is essential to actively involve students in the classroom interactions and dialogue needed to promote deeper content understanding and metacognitive reflection. We explore the potential for deeper learning within whole-class teaching and argue that such potential arises when teachers facilitate collective, reciprocal, supportive, cumulative and purposeful classroom interactions. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the importance of employing varied teaching practices to further address students’ need for deeper learning. The study presents examples of whole-class teaching practices framed by theory and the earlier research on deeper learning, which may contribute to the concretization of policy changes in support of deeper learning in education.
Routines play a major role in educational change in schools. But what happens if the routines performed by school staff fail to deal successfully with current challenges? What strategies aid adaptation of the routines in a specific situation? Up to now, there exists no comprehensive concept for understanding why and at what points the adapting of routines in schools in a specific situation takes a favorable or unfavorable direction. To address this gap, we propose extending theories on routines by considering theories on self-regulated and collectively regulated learning. We consider these theories to be a beneficial complement because of their broad theoretical, methodological, and empirical research base. We argue that these theories enhance the understanding of adapting routines to specific challenging situations in schools. We present a newly developed theoretical framework for dealing with specific challenging situations in schools as an interplay between routines and regulation processes. Finally, important research questions regarding the suggested approach are discussed.
In turbulent environments, schools have to adapt to constantly changing conditions. According to ambidexterity theory, whether they are successful in this primarily depends on their leaders and how they manage the tension between the use of current knowledge (exploitation) and the search for new knowledge (exploration). Through unique top-down and bottom-up pathways, they thus influence the innovation outcome of a school. However, it is so far unclear whether these assumptions are correct. Using data from a panel of principals who are representative of Germany and were surveyed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we therefore investigate if and how school leaders adapted to the turbulent environment caused by the pandemic and evaluate the extent to which this had an impact on their schools’ innovations in teaching and instruction. The results demonstrate that principals’ exploration activities increased markedly during the pandemic, while their exploitation activities decreased noticeably. Further, a focus on the use and refinement of existing knowledge in comparatively predictable (pre-COVID-19) environments harmed principals’ readiness to explore new knowledge in increasingly uncertain environments. Nevertheless, exploitation had positive consequences for the innovativeness of schools, and exploration goes along with more radical innovations in teaching and instruction. Our research suggests that schools that innovatively addressed the COVID-19 pandemic had school leaders who were able to quickly shift between the two modes of exploitation and exploration. A capacity to transition seamlessly between these modes of thinking and working thus appears to be vital for the longevity of schools.
The focus of this article is on the impacts of COVID-19 related manifestations of post-truth in educational settings in Australia. Within this context, there has been a reorientation of how wellbeing and academic achievement within schools reflect on broader trends within the general public, at local, state and national scales. Individual and communal experiences of adversity have been significantly impacted by phenomena associated with post-truth, particularly misinformation, a climate of anti-intellectualism, as well as fragmented socio-cultural cohesion. In the first section I explore these trends by providing an overview of how post-truth has been construed in Australian contexts, before moving to consider how engagements with post-truth have been shaped by the pandemic. Second, I analyse the close link between educational concerns that emerged from the pandemic era, and the circumstances that have supported the emergence of post-truth. Particular attention will be paid to debates over ‘learning loss’ and the place of teachers within Australian communities as a fulcrum for generating cultural capital and social cohesion. In the final section I consider what lessons these experiences have for education, as a way of cultivating learning communities that are oriented towards generating critical and digital literacy skills
Inclusion has been increasingly recognised as a global common goal in education. In China, inclusive education for children with special educational needs and disabilities is currently practised as ‘Learning in Regular Classrooms’ (LRC). However, not only has the inclusion policy frequently been criticised as failing to provide clear, systematic, or consistent strategies, but also the actual practices of LRC have also been found to merely concern children’s physical integration into the mainstream settings. This discussion paper explores key structural barriers to inclusive education through reviewing policies within the wider education ecosystem that are relevant to the theme of inclusion but outside the LRC policy itself. The analysis illustrates how the complex and interlocked structural barriers embedded within the wider context of current education policies pose persisting constraints for inclusion to progress in China, and how these structural barriers unique to the Chinese education system also reflect the common ‘wicked problems’ for practising inclusive education globally. The paper discusses five main education structures: neo-liberal education policies, national college entrance examination system, teacher evaluation system, staffing quota system and the ‘combine medicine and education’ policy. The conclusion illustrates the complexity and main issues facing future inclusion policy reforms and highlights key objectives for policy change. It indicates that, for inclusion reforms to be effective, broader changes are needed within the wider education ecosystem.
The article aims to depict the political framing of three grading reforms in Swedish compulsory school, in terms of the political problem they are supposed to solve and what kind of attention is given to the lowest performing pupils. Discourse analysis is employed, focusing on statement producers. The empirical material consists of policy documents from the late 1930s to 2010. The analyses show that three cases of the same type of policy change, a new grading system, rely on very different problem representations. The changes were launched as an equality tool, an accountability measure and a remedy for declining results, respectively. The discourse about the least successful pupils differs. Reasonable demands and a ranking scale without a failing grade characterize the introduction of a norm-referenced system; a first criterion-referenced system rests on a belief that virtually all pupils will meet the formulated levels for passing, an expectation not met, and a changed focus behind the second criterion-referenced system normalizes that some pupils will fail compulsory school. The article also illustrates the merits of studying educational policy change through the theoretical lens of problem representations and directs attention to how reforms can have discursive effects as well as unintended side effects that matter substantially for some people.
This paper compares the evolution of two initiatives—one in Singapore and one in New York City—designed expressly to support the development and spread of new and innovative school models. These two initiatives—Future Schools in Singapore and the iZone in New York City—reflected the hope that new school models and associated innovations could be incubated and then replicated to help create system-wide conditions that would allow new approaches to schooling to emerge. Despite dramatically different system contexts—in terms of governance, politics and professional capacity—we show how both initiatives have to deal with basic institutional, political and societal conditions that sustain conventional educational practice. We focus particularly on how common factors like capacity demands, frequent changes in policies and emerging technologies create opportunities for the development of some new resources and practices even as they reinforce many aspects of the conventional "grammar of schooling." Although this analysis emphasizes common challenges for developing more "innovative" approaches to schooling, we highlight as well the often-unanticipated developments that contribute to smaller scale innovations and incremental change.
Reference to teachers as agents of change has become commonplace in the education literature, including change towards more inclusive practice in response to the changing demographic of schooling. Yet, little is known about how teacher agency relates to i) their understanding of, and commitment to any given change agenda and ii) the institutional and social structures through which they are able to access knowledge and resources within and beyond their schools. This study combined social and epistemic network analysis to examine teachers’ understanding of change and their sense of agency as they use their social networks to mobilise support for furthering change that matters to them. Our study is the first to apply this learning analytic approach in a real setting context. We used theories of teacher agency and inclusive pedagogy to interpret teachers’ social interactions in light of the extent to which they seek to make a difference towards greater inclusion. We collected data with an online log completed by teachers and other staff in two schools in Sweden over six months. The findings suggest that teachers understanding of change is embedded in their day-to-day activities such as student support, lesson planning, improvement of programs, and working conditions. Teachers tend to exercise agency towards inclusion when they seek to support student learning and wellbeing. When teachers act as agents of change, their social networks are bigger, more diverse and more collaborative than in situations in which they act as role-implementers. We discuss substantive and methodological implications of these findings.
This paper takes ecological systems theory as a conceptual basis for defining and examining the main aspects of ‘system leadership’ in a large-sized multi-school group, such as a multi-academy trust (MAT) in the context of England. The theory provides a sound framework for understanding the processes and interactions involved in this notion of leadership which is framed within an educational ecosystem as a complex set of interconnected elements. Such an approach focuses on MAT leadership strategies able to create and guide a holistic conception of educational change in the market-oriented and decentralised educational system of England. Data were drawn from interviews with eight MAT leaders and analysed alongside documentary evidence. The findings provide specific insight into the daily work of executive leaders acting as system leaders seeking to create and sustain achievement-centred and practice-focused systems MAT-wide. They demonstrate the social and developing as well as the organisational aspects of system leadership in MATs and the ways in which different elements of the environment influence executive leaders in thinking and acting systemically. This paper adds value to existing knowledge on MATs and the ways in which they are led by system players. It broadens the frame of reference of leadership beyond the individual school to consider features of the broader system and environment. Complexity and ecological perspectives provide essential tools to understand more deeply educational change and have the potential to analyse notions of leadership across multi-school groups.
Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) was a package of school autonomy reforms operating in the state of New South Wales, Australia from 2012 to 2020. The set of reforms centred on the devolution of additional powers and responsibilities to school principals, namely enhanced capacity to manage staffing and financial functions in response to local conditions. Using a conceptual lens of policy enactment, we analyse interview data gathered from 31 teachers and school leaders on how these reform areas were understood and enacted at the school level. Our findings highlight the tensions in enacting devolutionary reform in schools. While the centrality of the school principal’s role was emphasised, including in relation to contested levels of principal discretion, the enactment of devolved powers and responsibilities also produced a fracturing of staff relationships within schools, notably between principals and teaching staff. This finding is understood within a context of heightened workload and unclear expectations which attended the policy’s introduction. We contribute to the school autonomy literature through: (a) the inclusion of teachers’ voices, a stakeholder perspective often missing in the autonomy literature, enabling the impact of the reforms on interpersonal, relational dynamics to come to the fore; and (b) exploring implications for future reform suggested by the fate of LSLD. In doing so, this article deepens knowledge on the enactment of autonomy reforms in schools, drawing implications for understanding school autonomy reform around the globe.
Understanding what contributes to improving a system will help us tackle the problems in education systems that usually fail disproportionately in providing quality education for all, especially for the most disadvantage sectors of the population. This paper presents the results of a qualitative systematic literature review aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of what education research can say about the factors that promote education systems’ improvement. This literature is emerging as a topic of empirical research that merges comparative education and school effectiveness studies as standardized assessments make it possible to compare results across systems and time. To examine and synthesize the papers included in this review we followed a thematic analysis approach. We identify, analyze, and report patterns in the papers included in this systematic review. From the coding process, four drivers for system improvement emerged: (1) system-wide approaches; (2) human capital; (3) governance and macro–micro level bridges; and (4) availability of resources.
This study proposes an empirically grounded theory of how school reform implementation relates to effectiveness, useful for developing and studying many approaches to school reform both in the U.S. and abroad, and also for assessing how policymakers and implementers might leverage various aspects of implementation to create effective school improvement models at scale. Guided by a new framework that links Bryk and colleagues’ (2010) five essential supports and as reported by Desimone’s (2002) adaptation of Porter and colleagues’ (1986) policy attributes theory, we use a mixed-methods approach to study the implementation and effectiveness of school turnaround efforts in the School District of Philadelphia. We explore the relationships among key turnaround model components, approaches to model implementation, and academic achievement using a matched comparison design and estimating a series of regressions. Qualitative methods are used to contextualize findings and offer explanatory hypotheses.
Teachers exercising reflexivity through their internal conversations is one of the most important factors in the process of curriculum change. Drawing from Margaret Archer’s theory, this research explores teachers’ internal conversations in their own descriptions about a range of matters related to curriculum making. Eight secondary school teachers from different subject backgrounds (6 from Scotland and 2 from Wales) participated in the research. Findings suggest that although teachers may have similar concerns to produce internal conversations, the texture of the conversations, their standpoints, and how they project future actions differed. This variation can be partially explained by teachers exercising different modes of reflexivity in their unique circumstances. Findings suggest that a complex, nuanced and dynamic understanding of reflexivity is a salient feature to explain teachers’ stances towards curriculum, reasoning, decision-making and actions, which may help to understand curriculum change processes better.
Reducing inequity is the moral imperative confronting today’s educational leaders. Central to reducing inequity is leaders’ ability to solve the school-based problems that contribute to it, while building the positive and trusting professional relationships required for teachers to commit to the hard work of improvement. A theory of collaborative problem-solving informed our intervention designed to improve the effectiveness of leaders’ behaviour as they worked with their teachers to accelerate the reading achievement of students yet to reach age-related standards. A concurrent mixed methods design was used to evaluate the impact of the intervention by analysing transcripts of interviews and leader-teacher conversations and student reading achievement data. Leaders’ effectiveness in their conversations improved significantly as did the reading outcomes of their target students. Our findings suggest that even short interventions grounded in strong theory with appropriate learning opportunities can affect a positive change in leadership behaviour and student outcomes.
The pandemic has made deeper problems more transparent and has stimulated many to realize that there may be an opportunity over the next period to pursue much needed innovations in learning. In this essay we describe the ways in which the pandemic has provided the conditions for new human development that joins two powerful forces: the pulsar model which elevates human potential with respect to student learning, and new, deeper forms of collaboration that have long eluded those interested in system change. In this article we show how 'spirit work' and collaboration can combine to develop schools systems that are essential for coping with the new post-pandemic conditions facing humanity. We also identify spinoff opportunities arising from the pandemic, and a corresponding pressure that could generate more widespread system improvement designed to improve learning for all, including advances in both equity and excellence.
Recent history has seen many schools shift from their original purpose of standardization and facts to focus on soft skills and global preparedness. The physical design of a school follows suit, shifting from identical classrooms and autonomous teachers to more collaborative shared spaces deemed 'innovative'. While those who formulate such schools and school designs (i.e. the architects and school leaders) often have clear anticipations of the teaching and learning behaviors, these expectations oftentimes go unrealized and educators maintain traditional practice despite the innovative spaces. It is proposed that this misalignment between expectation and reality is due to a lack of holistic change in the organizational system underpinning the new spatial design leaving the enactors of the envisioned environment (i.e. the educators) without clear expectations and supports to successfully shift their practice. To answer this need, this paper advances the Burke-Litwin Model for Organizational Performance and Change as a theoretical lens for understanding the holistic system involved in the transition of schools from traditional learning spaces to more innovative learning environments.
Educational systems worldwide promote the use of collaborative networks to foster teacher learning and improve practice in the pursuit of educational change to address longstanding equity and achievement issues. New Zealand is no exception, with its Communities of Learning/Kāhui Ako policy mandating collaboration spanning across schools—a mandate that has proven to be challenging. In this paper, we examine the case of one kāhui ako where a social network analysis had revealed that, despite collaborative goal setting and the allocation of remunerated leadership positions, there was a paucity of ties across the five schools involved. Taking a theory of action approach, we uncover and describe the constraints that determine the lack of across-school interactions. We discover that trust issues, competition between schools, and behavioural norms requiring positive and non-evaluative interactions combined with goals that allow for but do not require collaboration, limit teachers in the network to essentially collaborating only with those they have an existing social relationship with. We conclude that although the achievement goals are worked on (by chance rather than design), they are not achieved and it is unlikely organisational learning will occur within the kāhui ako. However, by describing the constraints dictating the patterns of interaction we also provide insight into a means of moving forward, and improving the collaboration patterns so that they might contribute to positive change in teaching and learning.
While prior research suggests that many educators turn to social media to grow and enhance professional learning networks (PLNs) that extend beyond their schools, little is known about how PLNs shift over time. In this exploratory study, we investigated the nature of continuity and change in the PLNs of 192 K-12 and university educators from 17 countries. Participants responded to our request to comment on PLN descriptions they provided in a previous 2014 survey, and then identify continuity and change during the intervening years. Respondents overwhelmingly expressed that their PLNs had changed over the four years between the two surveys. The causes of PLN changes appeared to be diverse, dynamic, and interrelated. Various proximal and distal factors contributed to changes in professional activities. We frame the study through social ecological systems theory, discuss the significance of these findings, and consider implications for K-12 and higher education professional learning. Educators and those who lead and support their professional learning should reflect upon and attend to PLN change to ensure more educative results for teachers and students.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether teachers’ engagement in research fosters teachers’ professional development and school development. We investigated changes in teachers’ professional behavior, the impact of such changes, and factors that affect such changes. Questionnaires were distributed among more than hundred teachers who participated in a course on teacher research in the period from 2013 to 2018. We collected in-depth data by conducting lesson observations and surveying students. Findings showed that teacher-researchers’ professional behavior had changed. The changes relate both to professional and school development. Our findings suggest that personal and contextual factors may have contributed to changes in teacher-researchers’ professional behavior. Altogether, the findings of this study substantiate the relevance of teacher research for education.
Recent United States (U.S.) educational policies—especially the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015—have challenged state education agencies (SEAs) to take greater responsibility for and leadership over improving underperforming schools. SEA capacity to accomplish this charge varies, so many SEAs contract with third-party, external providers in the school improvement industry. Yet, little systematic consideration has been given to the processes that SEAs use to work with appropriate, high-quality external providers. In this study, a substantial dataset consisting of publicly-available documents and survey responses permitted the analysis of how 51 SEAs solicited, vetted, monitored, and evaluated external providers that offered school improvement services. Results, which highlight how various U.S. states are responding to a seemingly ever-changing U.S. educational policy context, suggested more SEAs solicited and vetted, but approaches and procedures often differed. Far fewer SEAs, however, monitored and evaluated external providers. The paper closes with a discussion of each stage of the SEA external provider procurement process along with recommendations for future research on the school improvement industry.
This article analyzes how Social Work has been able to connect professional practice with the generation of knowledge. Social Work has the capacity to generate scientific knowledge directly from its professional intervention, and specifically, through the evaluation of its professional intervention. For this, Social Work has used different scientific methodologies and procedures for decades and have consolidated its generation of scientific knowledge. In this case we refer to the use of experimental and quasi-experimental designs, and the so-called Single Case Evaluation Designs (SCDE). Their diverse types and potentialities for the direct generation of scientific knowledge from the evaluation of professional practice are described. Method: We analyze the level of publications about experimentation and SCDE using Scopus Database, working with data exported from 1960 to the present. And estructurated by 14 variables. Findings: There is a significant increase in the number of publications about “Experiment in Social Work’ and ‘Single-Case Evaluation Designs in Social Work’, especially in the last decade. The United States and United Kingdom are the largest producer of experimentation in Social Work. Applications: We conclude that Social Work has been able to use these methodological research strategies to consolidate its capacity for research and generation of knowledge, both for the generation of theory and for professional intervention.
This qualitative research study sought to understand teachers’ resistance to English language educational change in Kyrgyzstan. The participants were six English teachers working in both rural and urban public schools in Kyrgyzstan. Analysis of non-participant observation and post-observation interviews revealed that, despite changes in English objectives following changes in socio-economic and political context after the demise of the Soviet Union, the lock-in practices in English language teaching still persist in Kyrgyzstan. This is because educational reforms have occurred only at a structural level [e.g. the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), State Standards and publishing new textbooks] and have lacked planned capacity building—through targeted professional support and adequate teaching and learning resources—to bring the envisioned curriculum change to the classrooms. The findings indicate that the intended change has not yielded the much-desired outcomes because each element at every educational level is linked ceremonially and loosely, and is decoupled, which provides insights about teachers’ resistance to curriculum change.
Research is growing on the ways K-12 schools can address immigration policy and assist in mediating its impact on students and families. Community schools are poised to address these issues through integrated student supports by taking an asset-based perspective that views community members and organizations as powerful constituents in the struggle for educational equity. We report the findings of a qualitative case study of the implementation of a school-based legal clinic for immigrant families in a high-poverty urban neighborhood. We applied an equity-minded school change framework to examin the range of services offered by the clinic, the process of integrating the clinic’s work into the life of the school, and the perspectives of teachers regarding the intersection between immigration and education.
Inner-city school systems serving marginalized populations around the world are hindered by undemocratic and anti-public, political forces given global neoliberalism. This paper highlights a three-year case study of community organizers’ efforts to resist such forces and increase school access, equity, and local control in Detroit, MI (USA). Authors emphasize how the leadership of African American mother organizers was particularly instrumental to positive change. Literature on educational activism, leadership, and community organizing help frame the organizational and political value of the organizers’ efforts. In-depth interview, observation, and artifact data further reveal how the activist-mother-organizers, motivated by their spiritual beliefs and liberatory aims, guided effective educational reform campaigns to oppose school closure and cultivated critical hope among their fellow organizers through a process the authors name as “spiriting urban educational justice.” Spiriting urban educational justice involves enacting border crossing and boundary spanning activities to navigate placed-based politics and seek educational equity with spiritual clarity and drive. Authors discuss how school and district leaders can learn from this process and collaborate with activist-organizers who serve as spiriters of justice to improve urban schools.
In this essay, we discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic drove key changes in schooling and what forces can sustain these changes. Responding to the argument that COVID-19-driven changes may not be sustainable, this essay offers a counter narrative from the Korean context, in which educators re-visited existing school systems and re-constructed policies and teaching practices to fill the educational vacuum caused by the pandemic. This essay specifically builds on interviews conducted with Korean educators throughout the 2020 school year during COVID-19. First, we discuss ownership of educational change as reflected in educators’ narratives. We then explore three driving forces behind the transformation of the “grammar of Korean schooling”: policy discourse about “future education,” professional teaching culture, and administration for creativity. Based on our analysis, we offer several suggestions for policymakers, district leaders, and educators around the world for how to leverage and sustain the educational changes catalyzed by COVID-19. We conclude by arguing that educators’ desires to achieve change must be actualized in schools and policies through collaborative foresight and system-level support.
The theory of Expansive learning and the change laboratory (CL) methodology has been developed and applied in many studies on workplace learning and educational change. There are fewer studies made on small-scale interventions, exploring the longitudinal development of expansive learning in an educational change effort. This article examines a CL intervention performed in an upper secondary school in Sweden, with a small group of teachers engaged in a participatory design project. By identifying and analysing the relationship of the seven learning actions posited by the theory of expansive learning, the aim was to contribute to the discussion of the CL methodology and the empirical usability of the theory. The results showed that the seven expansive learning actions functioned as analytical tools to map the teachers learning and development, but the analysis also showed many deviations, disruptions and occurrence of practical actions of design in the process. This challenge the notions of cyclicity and ascension in the theory of expansive learning. Cyclicity might be desirable but not necessary for expansive learning which questions the need to first grasp the problem at a conceptual level before generating concrete solutions. The Findings in this study suggests the opposite; that the entanglement and parallel movement between the abstract and the concrete was a driving force for the teachers expansive learning and the design of new curricular units.
This article describes the use of a Learning Commission to experiment with conceptualising and implementing richer modes of educational accountability. A Learning Commission is a form for collaborative thinking that brings different kinds of knowledge and expertise to bear in relation to a common matter of concern: the role of schools in relation to the communities they serve. As part of a broader research project, we used a Learning Commission to co-produce knowledge about community expectations of schools in a regional area of Queensland, Australia. We analysed data generated through this process using a narrative approach and synthesised the findings in a conceptualisation of rich accountabilities that offers an alternative to top-down, test-based modes of accountability. Rich accountabilities raise anew the questions of who should be accountable, what counts and whose practices should be changed by accountability systems. The article thus describes (a) an alternative model of accountability in education and (b) an alternative theorisation of accountability informed by the implementation of this model as a method for co-producing research about schools and communities. The article provides significant conceptual and methodological resources for further experiments in enriching educational accountability.
The quasi-market condition of education intensified the need to seek ongoing school improvements, manage uncertainty, and innovate school-wide pedagogy and curricula. Sequentially, interest in teachers’ entrepreneurial behavior (TEB) has grown rapidly in recent years, which established the importance of entrepreneurial behavior as an effective response to the changing, uncertain, and increasing demanding context in the education system. However, the notion of TEB has not been clearly conceptualized or operationalized. This study attempted to offer a clear definition of TEB and identify its conceptual components. We first offered a semi-systematic literature review of entrepreneurial behavior, and then conducted a multiple-site case study at three schools in Hong Kong. We identified three competency components and three attribute components of TEB, from which we established a conceptual definition of TEB. This clarification of TEB and its components enabled the linkage to prior literature and future research.
Teacher evaluation’s relationship with instructional improvement is under-theorized in the literature. To address this gap, this paper uses a conceptual framework rooted in human, social, and material capital to analyze and synthesize findings from research conducted since 2009 on whether and under what conditions teacher evaluation stimulates change in teachers’ instruction. We find that teacher evaluation can facilitate instructional improvement if evaluators understand teaching and the teacher evaluation system and teachers and evaluators trust each other and have opportunities to develop social capital regarding instruction. In addition, adequate time and a userfriendly online data system appear to facilitate the use of teacher evaluation to stimulate changes in teachers’ practice. This paper thus presents a theoretical framework, rooted in theory and empirical research, that may prove useful to scholars and practitioners.
To demonstrate whether individuals of the new generation have developed a unique and different learning model, research was conducted on children aged 10–11 in England, the United States, Australia and Germany. The qualities and the characteristics those children seek in the activities with which they spend more time were recognized. Using this knowledge, an innovative IT-based teaching model was structured and applied to an experimental group during the 2016–2017 school year. The results show that children indeed have developed their own learning model to extract the information they need from everything that catches their attention, challenges them and offers them rewards. In addition, they easily lose attention and interest when they are subjected to the traditional teaching model, as evidenced in the control group.
Globally, teacher professional development is heralded as a key mechanism for educational reform. With governments investing heavily in PD programs, the aim of these interventions is not only enhanced teacher knowledge and practice but, ultimately, improved student outcomes. A substantial body of research has attempted to identify characteristics of effective PD, generating a growing list of features that ostensibly ‘work’. As such, program design has become the dominant analytic focus. In this paper, we shift attention squarely to program implementation as necessary in conceptualising and evaluating effective PD. We apply the lens of implementation science to a case study of how one regional secondary school in NSW, Australia, implemented a robust PD program called Quality Teaching Rounds that has strong evidence of effectiveness. Despite the school’s attempts to remain true to the spirit of the PD, a combination of remoteness, lack of casual relief teachers, high teacher turnover, and negative perceptions of peer observation result in a form of QTR that is almost unrecognisable from its intended design. We argue greater attention must be given to understanding and supporting successful implementation within and across diverse school contexts in order to take effective forms of PD to scale.
Education reform requires the commitment and investment of teachers if it is to succeed. Recognising the importance of teacher engagement, some countries have made teacher agency a feature of their curricula. Wales has embraced the notion of teacher agency within the building of its new curriculum by creating a body of Pioneer teachers to shape its new curriculum framework. This paper considers the nature of teacher agency experienced by a group of these Pioneers working on the expressive arts area of the curriculum. It does so through an exploration of the ecological nature of teacher agency, as theorised by Emirbayer and Mische (1998), and it considers agency through a framework of different levels: the micro-level focuses on the individuals and their personal contributions; the macro-level considers Pioneers’ work at national level, liaising with teachers from across the country and taking responsibilityfor creating the curriculum; the meso-level refers to where the two former levels come together, i.e. the Pioneers’ work within their own institution, trialling the new curriculum. The evidence indicates that teacher agency was easier to achieve at micro-level and macro-level, than at meso-level. This paper suggests, therefore, that achieving teacher agency at institutional level is more complex and challenging than is the case at the other levels. Greater understanding and attention are, therefore, needed about how to achieve teacher agency in teachers’ different spheres of work, particularly when working at institutional level.
At a time when educators are increasingly rising up within and beyond their unions to protect public education, it is vital to understand how activist educators become politicized and how their activist organizations contribute to such political education efforts. In this article, Maton and Stark examine the grassroots organizing work of three educator-led social justice caucuses and a national network in order to explicate how five forms of political education—relational, structured, situational, mobilized, and networked—support educators’ political learning within and beyond their unions. We tease apart the characteristics and central knowledge sources inherent to these five forms of political education, showcasing examples of how caucuses capitalize upon and embed political education within their change-making efforts.
Educational leaders’ effectiveness in solving problems is vital to school and system-level efforts to address macrosystem problems of educational inequity and social injustice. Leaders’ problem-solving conversation attempts are typically influenced by three types of beliefs—beliefs about the nature of the problem, about what causes it, and about how to solve it. Effective problem solving demands testing the validity of these beliefs—the focus of our investigation. We analyzed 43 conversations between leaders and staff about equity related problems including teaching effectiveness. We first determined the types of beliefs held and the validity testing behaviors employed drawing on fine-grained coding frameworks. The quantification of these allowed us to use cross tabs and chi-square tests of independence to explore the relationship between leaders’ use of validity testing behaviors (those identified as more routine or more robust, and those relating to both advocacy and inquiry) and belief type. Leaders tended to avoid discussion of problem causes, advocate more than inquire, bypass disagreements, and rarely explore logic between solutions and problem causes. There was a significant relationship between belief type and the likelihood that leaders will test the validity of those beliefs—beliefs about problem causes were the least likely to be tested. The patterns found here are likely to impact whether micro and mesosystem problems, and ultimately exo and macrosystem problems, are solved. Capability building in belief validity testing is vital for leadership professional learning to ensure curriculum, social justice and equity policy aspirations are realized in practice.
This research examined how stakeholders (n = 40) from one school district experienced “accountability” within a context where responsibility for student learning was being distributed across the system. Using a case study design, we examined: what conditions supported stakeholders in multiple roles to exercise responsibility for student learning? Analyses of documents and interviews revealed conditions that enabled teachers, instructional leaders, and administrators to share responsibility in relation to their roles, and empowered teachers to engage in inquiry for continuous improvement and build from their sense of professionalism and responsibility. Implications are discussed for empowering teachers, and other stakeholders, to exercise responsibility in the context of an accountability system.
Although policies aiming to increase school-based autonomy are commonplace, we know little about how school actors use autonomy to improve organizational performance in varied contexts. This paper surfaces perspectives from school leaders and teachers on the effectiveness of autonomy and describes how these perspectives vary across schools. We use contingency theory to guide our analysis of case study data from eight schools in the Denver Public Schools (DPS) district which vary in school governance, performance, and demographics. We interviewed school principals, teachers, teacher leaders and other charter and district administrators in the 2016–17 school year, totaling 53 participants. School cases consistently reported high levels of accountability pressure from the district central office to improve student test scores that, in turn, informed their mission and goal setting. Schools also reported different levels of autonomy that varied according to school governance model and consistently described these levels as optimal for achieving school goals. Several internal and external contingencies shaped these perceptions albeit in different ways depending on autonomy level. Relevant contingencies included task uncertainty in each school’s mission, teacher organizational fit, school leadership, support from intermediate entities, and procedures to coordinate decision-making across school actors or organizational sub-units.
In recent years, many states have adopted policies to ensure students are reading proficiently by third grade. This kind of policy transfer across states is not a unique phenomenon; researchers have documented analogous proliferations of similar policies both in and outside the field of education. However, there has been little attention paid to how policy transfer happens in K-12 education policy, particularly at the state level. To better understand how education policies spread across states, we turn to the case of Michigan’s Read by Grade Three Law, which was adopted in 2016. Guided by the Multiple Streams Framework and the theory of policy transfer, we trace the policy process surrounding the Law’s conception, development, and passage, relying on data from semi-structured interviews from 24 stakeholders involved in the development of the Law and supported by policy documents from all 50 states and D.C. We find that events in the problem and political streams opened a policy window that allowed for the passage of the Law. These findings contribute to policymakers’ and other stakeholders’ understandings of the development and passage of third-grade literacy policies—information that will be important as these policies continue to receive national attention in both the policy and research communities. Moreover, this study is one of few to focus on the critical role of policy entrepreneurs in joining together the multiple streams, while also providing a nuanced view of how policy transfer and policy entrepreneurship promote the convergence of ideas and solutions to particular problems.
Teachers’ engagement in educational reform is an emotional process, yet the emotional dimensions of school improvement efforts remain understudied. This paper explores the emotional experiences of two teacher teams navigating a reform centering collaboration for instructional improvement. Drawing on group emotion (Kelly and Barsade in Org Behav Hum Decis Process 86(1):99–130, 2001) as a conceptual framework, this paper illustrates how individual beliefs and dispositions, group norms, and broader contextual factors mediate group emotion and engagement in reform over time. Findings indicate that leaders should attend to how teacher turnover impacts group emotion and engagement in capacity-building, particularly when teachers lose team members who have previously driven productive collaborative planning. Findings also highlight the nested nature of grade-level collaboration, revealing the influential role of department norms and relationships.
Una dimensión importante del análisis comparativo internacional en materia educacional es el estudio de los modelos de regulación que estructuran la forma de organizar la provisión educativa. La literatura especializada ha definido tres modelos de regulación predominantes: el modelo profesional burocrático tradicional, el cuasi-mercado inspirado en el pensamiento neoliberal y el estado evaluativo vinculado a la noción de nueva gestión pública. Este trabajo busca contribuir a esta línea de análisis estudiando la evolución del sistema educativo chileno desde 1980. Describimos y analizamos los modelos de regulación que han regido la educación chilena y su expresión en las reformas y políticas educativas. Afirmamos que Chile ha adoptado los tres modelos mencionados. También identificamos algunas de las principales consecuencias de estas políticas: un sistema escolar altamente atomizado, privatizado y segregado socioeconómicamente; una mejora en el acceso a la educación y en las condiciones del proceso educativo; y un leve aumento de los resultados de aprendizaje, aunque éstos partieron de niveles muy bajos y se han estancado durante la última década, manteniendo un carácter altamente desigual. Proponemos algunas hipótesis para interpretar esos cambios, relacionándolos tanto con los modelos de regulación como con las políticas previamente analizadas. En general, afirmamos que la reforma de mercado y la irrupción del Estado evaluador han logrado modestos efectos positivos, al tiempo que han producido relevantes consecuencias indeseadas. Concluimos el trabajo con una reflexión sobre el carácter de la particular hibridación de modelos de regulación desarrollada en Chile y los tipos de política que creemos deberían priorizarse para mejorar la calidad, potenciar la innovación y disminuir la inequidad educativa.
An important dimension of international comparative analysis in education is studying the models of regulation that structure the way in which educational provision is organized. The specialized literature has defined three predominant regulatory models: the traditional bureaucratic professional model, the quasi-market model inspired by neoliberal thought, and the evaluative state model linked to the notion of new public management. This paper seeks to contribute to this line of analysis by studying the evolution of the Chilean education system since 1980. We describe and analyze the models of regulation that have governed Chilean education and their expression in educational reforms and policies; we assert that Chile has adopted all three mentioned models. We also identify some of the principal consequences of these policies: a highly atomized, privatized, and socioeconomically segregated school system; an improvement in access to education and the conditions for the educational process; and an increase in learning outcomes, despite starting from very low levels and stalling during the past decade while remaining highly unequal in character. Thus, we propose some hypotheses to interpret those changes, relating them to the models of regulation as well as the policies previously analyzed. Overall, we affirm that the market and evaluative state models have achieved modest positive effects while producing relevant undesirable consequences. We conclude the paper with a reflection on the character of the particular hybridization of regulatory models developed in Chile, and the types of policy we believe should be prioritized to improve quality, increase innovation, and diminish inequity.
Recent research has indicated global trends of decreasing teacher autonomy and increasing teacher accountability. Standardised national tests have been identified as one of many factors constraining teacher autonomy. Another trend influencing teachers’ scope of action is the profiling and branding of schools that compete for students. This qualitative case study concerns the general upper secondary level in Finland, the only level of education in the country with a high-stakes final examination—the matriculation exam. The upper secondary level is generally regarded as Finland’s most subject-focused level of education. In contrast to this subject-focused tradition, the case school for this research has developed a cross-curricular profile emphasising creativity, boundary crossing and an outward orientated approach. The study explores the teachers’ perceptions of how their autonomy is constrained in this context characterised by tensions between the cross-curricular school profile on one hand, and the subject-focused tradition and student evaluations on the other. Although one might expect these tensions to constrain teacher autonomy, the results show that the teachers, in fact, experience the cross-curricular school profile as increasing their individual autonomy. The study demonstrates that upper secondary teachers can experience extensive autonomy despite global trends of increasing teacher accountability and diminishing teacher autonomy.
Effective school leadership and ongoing teacher capacity-building are essential aspects of school reform and improving educational outcomes for students in developing countries. This paper examines a Timor-Leste curriculum reform and associated school leader capacity-building and the implementation processes for building sustainability, within the context of research literature regarding effective professional development and successful foreign aid principles. The Timor-Leste leadership program was developed using an interpretivist paradigm and action research, with the authors being program designers and managers embedded in the context. School leader interviews and surveys, meeting notes and monitoring and evaluation reports, also teacher skills and student achievement data, were continuously examined to analyse issues and plan actions and solutions. Findings outline early impacts in relation to changing school leader behaviours, improved teacher skills and increased student literacy and numeracy, while also presenting implementation processes and actions taken to overcome challenges in relation to research-informed foreign aid principles.
Given the importance of foreign aid for supporting significant educational improvement in developing countries, this Timor-Leste leadership capacity-building case study provides an example relevant to an under-researched area. While the focus is on one particular country and reform involving curriculum and professional development, the paper has value for other education contexts and system change initiatives which involve collaborations with foreign aid donors.